This page applies to budget accommodation. It reflects our experience during high season- in February 2013. I’m assuming the accommodation scene is changing rapidly though, as touristic infrastructure continues to grow.
Yangon, Hninzi Inn
Smack next to the Ocean Pearl Hotel, and the first of many unsatisfactory-value-for-money guesthouses in Myanmar.
Reached by a narrow, steep and decrepit staircase, Hninzi Guesthouse takes up 4 or 5 floors. Twin room,27$, includes typical guesthouse breakfast- floppy toast, margarine, jam, egg, 1 banana, enjoyed at two tiny folding tables in reception area/mobile accessories store. Basic, windowless room, shared bathroom, clean. Functioning wifi and AC. Not much else to say about this place. Better might be available for the price- we didn’t find it on this first time visit to Yangon. Businesslike proprietress, friendly, inexperienced staff
Other quotes in Yangon:
Chan May Hotel
Room rate US$ 35/night for a double including breakfast
Cherry Guest House.
Double Room between 35 and 45 US$/night including breakfast.
Mandalay- Tiger Hotel
Basically the Hninzi with attached rundown bathroom and a window. Gloomy lighting, no breakfast. Double 30$. Scentwise like living in a giant mothball. Wifi sketchy, AC ok. Staff willing, helpful, friendly
Pyin Oo Lwin- Grace 2 Guesthouse
About a 10 minute walk from the town center, with a pretty garden for lounging. Somewhat noisy road on one side, something of a garbage dump on the other, expect sporadic plastic rubbish burning fires.
Large twin fan room, 25$, with a desk and 2 chairs, inadequate lighting. In February the room is cool and very cold at night. Grotty shower/wc with serious mildew problem. Generous breakfast served in convivial setting in the garden. No wifi, but readily available at café, a five minute walk away. Staff helpful and friendly
Mandalay stopover- Rich Queen Guesthouse
Basic, clean, new twin room, 25$, with attached bathroom that already looked rather “used”. Good clean bed, AC, 1 small cabinet, loud 5am temple chanting (daily?)
Slow wifi in small downstairs entrance area, where breakfast was being prepared when we left at 6.30 in the morning , area also doubles as staff sleeping quarters
We were kindly offered a picnic of fruit and sweet deep-fried breadsticks. Staff very young, friendly
Bagan- Diamond Eagle II
We bagged what appeared to be the The Last rooms in Bagan. A 15$ establishment
that had raised its prices to dizzying 35$. Am undecided if the manager’s Rumpelstilzchen-esque dance of joy every time we handed over 35$ was really worth the 20$ overpay. We ended up staying for 3 nights. Basic 3-bed room, fan, infernally loud one-size-fits-all AC- if not a power cut, attached grubby bathroom, beds OK, sheets threadbare but clean, quiet location. Netted windows that needed taping, a few sticks of furniture, a dusty TV with mysteriously self-changing channels*. No staff visible, only Rumpelstilzchen, a sweet young girl who spoke a bit of English, and a few friendly guys who slept on the wooden benches and floor in the entrance and regularly apologized for the power cuts. No internet. *Channel changes steered by reception!
Chaungtha- New Chaung Tha Lodge
Freestanding concrete bungalows, good size, mosquito nets, fan, attached completely neglected bathroom, resident small rat (or large mouse). Spacious terrace with depilated furnishing overlooking large, sparse garden and view to beach- ocean between palm trees. With some serious sprucing up, this could be a fabulous hotel….Facilities superficially clean, but gone to (bird-) seed….
25$ per bungalow. A plus- breakfast is included at a friendly little place right on the beach. Wifi nearby, in hotel across road. Tea and coffee making facilities. Shy, friendly non-English speaking staff
Yangon- Mayfair Inn
Good central location, cleaner than most, strong AC, no wifi, 17$ for a basic double room, window to decrepit space behind building
Small clean attached bathroom. Grouchy gentleman at reception refuses all reservations via phone, but accepts deposits to secure a room, if you plan on returning to Yangon.
Generally the accommodation situation in late February was precarious. Perhaps our needing two double rooms aggravated the situation. We were surprised at how reluctant guesthouses were to accept reservations via phone, whether by us personally, a travel agent or another guesthouse. We contacted a recommended agent in Nyaungshwe for Lake Inle and she was unable to find two affordable rooms for the following week. Because we would have been arriving after dark and had already experienced the hassle of finding accommodation in Bagan, we opted to skip Lake Inle completely this time. In hindsight, perhaps making all reservations, and even pre-paying, through a trustworthy agent, would have been wiser, albeit pricier for sure.
Guesthouses were usually very helpful with phone calls, procuring bus tickets and the likes. Longer distance bus travel was dependable, comfortable and affordable- unlike the so-called short hops.
Generally, our experience was that trying to work things out all on our own wasn’t worth the hassle, or didn’t turn out as expected… Quadrupling up!